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Tearful reunion after mom saw photo of daughter at border | Latin America News

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Six years had passed since Glenda Valdez kissed her toddler goodbye and left for the United States — six years since she held Emely in her arms.

But here she was, at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport of Texas, tearfully embracing the little girl she had left behind. And it happened only because she had glimpsed a televised photo of Emely, part of a story by The Associated Press news agency on young people crossing the Mexican border alone.

“I love you so much,” she whispered in Spanish in her nine-year-old daughter’s ear. “My God, thank you.”

It was a fairy tale ending — for the moment — to a complicated story, one that began in Honduras and with an unhappy relationship, according to Valdez, 26.

Emely’s father, she said, was absent and did not provide for them. When Valdez emigrated in pursuit of a better life, the girl was left in the custody of Valdez’s mother. But Emely’s father took her back.

Valdez said she only had sporadic contact with her daughter — the father preferred that they not speak regularly. Every so often, Valdez would get a video call; eventually, Emely told her that she had a new stepmother who was not kind to her.

Emely told her that her father — seeing that she was unhappy with her life in that household — had decided to send her away, without telling her where. He placed her in the care of an adult who over several weeks helped her journey to the US-Mexico border.

It had been six years since Valdez said goodbye to her daughter Emely in Honduras. Then, last month, she caught a glimpse of a televised Associated Press photo of a little girl in a red hoodie and knew that Emely had made the trip alone into the US. [Eric Gay/AP Photo]

Around midnight as the day turned to May 13, Border Patrol agents encountered Emely in La Joya, on the Texas side of the Rio Grande Valley. She had been walking in the brush for six hours with a group of strangers and had lost a shoe in the mud. She was sobbing uncontrollably.

“I was thirsty and we didn’t have anything to drink and I didn’t like it and I didn’t know where I was going,” Emely said in Spanish on Sunday.

When the agents found her, she said she had lost her mother’s number, and did not know where her mother lived. Desperate, she gave reporters details she thought might identify her mom: “Her hair is curly, but sometimes she straightens it. And she has a lip ring.”

Her mother was expecting her, she said. But Valdez said on Sunday she had no idea her child had been sent to cross the border.

Valdez was at her home in Austin, watching a Univision newscast one afternoon in May, when she saw the picture of Emely in a red hoodie. She knew at once that it was her daughter. Desperate, she immediately began making calls to the US authorities, the network and refugee agencies.

“I was like in shock, honestly, because imagine you are watching the TV and you suddenly see your daughter,” Valdez said. “And then even more to see her crying and everything she was saying broke my heart, honestly, everything she said there, that she was upset and crying and all that, and to see her image, barefoot and all was very difficult for me.”

Emely said she was taken to a group home. But Valdez did not know that, and for weeks she said she got only vague answers to her pleas for information. Be patient, she was told.

“I was just traumatised, like I spent many days crying, watching her video, looking through her photos and crying and crying and crying,” Valdez said.

Last Wednesday, she got a call: Emely was in a government shelter. They would be reunited soon. And then, on Saturday, she was told to meet her daughter at the airport the next day. At the appointed time, she raced to the bottom of the stairs at the crowded arrivals terminal to hug her daughter.

Emely is part of a large increase in children travelling alone who are entering the US from Mexico — nearly 19,000 in March (the highest number on record) and nearly 17,200 in April (the second-highest). Almost one of every three unaccompanied children appearing at the border is from Honduras, second only to Guatemala.

Guided by federal law and a decades-old court settlement, the US Health and Human Services Department seeks to place unaccompanied children in the “least restrictive setting” possible, which, in the vast majority of cases is a parent or close relative already living in the US. It took an average of 35 days to place children in a home at the end of May; Emely was reunited with her mother 10 days less than that.

Children are typically released with instructions to appear in immigration court, where a judge rules on their asylum claims. Decisions can take years — the court system has a backlog of 1.3 million cases.

While Emely awaits her court date, the girl has moved in with Valdez, her husband and their two daughters, who are excited to get to know this new sister they had only met virtually.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Explainer: What is the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19? | Coronavirus pandemic News

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Scientists worry the mutation, coupled with other existing features of the Delta variant, could make it more transmissible.

India on Wednesday said it has found about 40 cases of the Delta coronavirus variant carrying a mutation that appears to make it more transmissible, and advised states to increase testing.

Here is what we know about the variant.

What is Delta Plus?

The variant, called Delta Plus in India, was first reported (PDF) in a Public Health England bulletin on June 11.

It is a sublineage of the Delta variant first detected in India and has acquired the spike protein mutation, called K417N, which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Some scientists worry that the mutation, coupled with other existing features of the Delta variant, could make it more transmissible.

“The mutation K417N has been of interest as it is present in the Beta variant (B.1.351 lineage), which was reported to have immune evasion property,” India’s health ministry said in a statement.

Shahid Jameel, a top Indian virologist, said the K417N was known to reduce the effectiveness of a cocktail of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

Where all it has been found?

As of June 16 (PDF), at least 197 cases have been found in 11 countries – Britain (36), Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), the United States (83).

India said on Wednesday about 40 cases of the variant have been observed in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with “no significant increase in prevalence”. The earliest case in India is from a sample taken on April 5.

Britain said its first five cases were sequenced on April 26 and they were contacts of individuals who had travelled from, or transited through, Nepal and Turkey.

No deaths were reported among the United Kingdom and Indian cases.

What are the worries?

Studies are continuing in India and globally to test the effectiveness of vaccines against this mutation.

“WHO is tracking this variant as part of the Delta variant, as we are doing for other Variants of Concern with additional mutations,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement sent to Reuters news agency.

“For the moment, this variant does not seem to be common, currently accounting for only a small fraction of the Delta sequences … Delta and other circulating Variants of Concern remain a higher public health risk as they have demonstrated increases in transmission,” it said.

But India’s health ministry warned that regions where it has been found “may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination”.

There are worries Delta Plus would inflict another wave of infections on India after it emerged from the world’s worst surge in cases only recently.

“The mutation itself may not lead to a third wave in India – that also depends on COVID-appropriate behaviour, but it could be one of the reasons,” said Tarun Bhatnagar, a scientist with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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EU citizens in UK to be given 28 days to apply for settled status | Brexit News

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People who miss the June 30 settlement scheme deadline will be issued warnings to apply or risk losing their rights.

European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom will be given a 28-day warning to apply for post-Brexit settled status or face losing some of their rights from next month, the government said on Tuesday.

The UK’s so-called settlement scheme for EU and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens, which opened in early 2019, closes on June 30.

It allows Europeans in the UK to retain the same residence, travel, employment and healthcare rights they had before Brexit.

The rules around the UK’s departure from the bloc, which came into force at the beginning of this year, ended the reciprocal freedom of movement.

About 5.6 million people and their dependents have applied for settled status under the scheme since it was introduced.

But about 400,000 cases still require processing, while many are rushing to submit their applications before next week’s deadline.

At the same time, messaging and outreach campaigns are targeting those who may not be aware of the need to apply by next week’s deadline.

Immigration minister Kevin Foster said anyone whose application was not filed by the deadline would not see their rights immediately withdrawn, as they were protected by law.

But he also ruled out extending the June 30 cutoff point.

“Put simply, extending the deadline is not the solution to reaching those people who have not yet applied, and we would just be in a position further down the line where we would be asked to extend again, creating more uncertainties,” Foster told members of a parliamentary committee.

He added that immigration enforcement officials would instead begin issuing 28-day notices to those yet to apply.

The UK’s Home Office, which oversees immigration, said that applications may also be submitted past the 28-day notice period in some cases.

“We’ll set up the support available and we’ll signpost people to make an application, but we do recognise that there may be some people who, after that 28 days, still haven’t been able to make an application,” a Home Office spokesman said, according to The Guardian newspaper.

“I think we would want to work with them to understand why that is the case, and then support them again to make the application.”

Foster said those who had missed the deadline on reasonable grounds will still be able to apply, citing exceptions such as children whose parents had failed to apply on their behalf, or individuals with a serious illness that had prevented them from filing their paperwork.

The government will also issue a “certificate of application” for those awaiting a decision, he added, which will act as proof of their right to work, rent property, obtain benefits and use the National Health Service.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Distribution of Mosquito Nets to Markets Traders Commences

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Government has on Wednesday started distributing mosquito nets to traders; starting with the Nakasero market.

The exercise was kick-started with 2000 mosquito nets from Quality Chemicals Limited (QCL).

During his last address to the nation on Friday 18th June 2021, President Yoweri Museveni announced a 42-day lockdown directive, and all food market vendors were asked to stay at their places of work to avoid spreading the disease.

“Food market vendors should revert to the Presidential Directive of March 2020 to stay in their places of work,” he said.

President Museveni also said that the food market vendors were to be provided with mosquito nets and polythene sheets for their protection.

Handing over the donation, Mr. Emmanuel Katongole, a director at Quality Chemicals Limited applauded the market vendors for the sacrifice made when they fled their homes to sleep at workplaces to earn a living for their families and provide food to our communities.

“It is therefore important to us to ensure that they are protected from the harmful mosquitoes that linger in the night. We have donated 2000 mosquito nets to the Ministry of Health who will supply them to the market vendors,” he said

Adding, “I applaud the president and the Ministry of Health for their role in the fight against covid-19. As Quality Chemicals, we decided to contribute towards government efforts in the fight against malaria.”

Upon receipt of the donation on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary applauded quality chemicals for a helping hand.

“The women who sleep in the market are about 5000 according to the number that was given to us by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). The ministry has also brought 3000 nets to ensure that the population is covered. The nets are to protect them from mosquito bites while you’re asleep,” she said.

She asked them to follow the Standard Operating Procedures to avoid the further spread of Covid-19.

The post Distribution of Mosquito Nets to Markets Traders Commences first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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